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Money Saving Mama: Spring cleanup

Posted: March 15, 2017 - 1:52am

What happens when you make a mess? You get out your cleaner and you clean it up, right? What if there are messes that can't be cleaned up with a cleaner or a rag or mop? There is always a way to clean everything up, no matter the mess.

First of all, what if your finances need cleaning up? What can you use to get them cleaned up?

You have to realize that it didn't happen overnight and it will not get cleaned up overnight. It will take some time and a plan but it can be done, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to do it.

You need to know what the mess is first. How much do you owe and to whom? Get a payoff plan for the debt.

Dave Ramsey uses the "debt snowball" approach. This is where you tackle one thing at a time.

Put everything extra you can toward that one debt and get it paid off as quickly as possible. Then you take the money from that paid-off debt and put toward the next debt and pay it as quickly as possible.

The best way to keep your momentum is to pay off the smaller debts first. This way, you will see that it is getting done and it will keep you motivated. Canceling things you don't need or, at least, trading them for something less expensive, will give you more money.

For instance, if you are a member of a gym and you are paying large fees every month, you can cancel that and work out at home or join a gym that costs less per month. You may need to go to a gym to stay motivated to work out, so you choose to join Riverview Park for $50 a person or $150 a family per year vs. paying $40 and up a month.

Also, calling and working out better cost on things such as your cellphones, cable, and even your interest rates on your credit cards can help you save money as well.

You may look at getting a second job or selling things through eBay, Amazon, Etsy or at a yard sale to get that extra money needed to help pay off your bills.

It is all in having a plan to make it happen, and then the mess starts becoming smaller and smaller as you clean it up.

If you need help with any of the plans for your finances, you can look up online or buy or rent books from Dave Ramsey and his "Financial Peace" series, Clark Howard, or even Suze Orman.

You may need to clean up your health. Your eating habits may not be the best right now and you aren't working out. You may be smoking and want to quit. Whatever it is, this may be your "mess" right now.

Again, you have to have a plan. If your eating is out of control and unhealthy, it will take some determination, but you can change that.

The first thing you need to do is to stop buying the bad food. Spend your money on the food that will be healthier for you. If you don't eat it because you don't have time to prepare it in the mornings before work, when you bring it home, cut up what you can and put it in bags for the week so it makes it easy to grab. Or make freezer meals out of it and then you can just pull it out and heat it up or cook it in the week.

Once you start breaking that habit of the refined foods and sugars and carbs, the cravings will become less, and your body starts to know what to do without it.

If you need to work out but it is hard for you to do so, start with walking. We are going into a pretty time of the year and the days are now longer, so you can walk in the evenings if you need to. As you get stronger and have more energy, you can do more.

Add weights, jog, whatever you can do to become stronger and healthier. If you are smoking or have other habits that you want to break, devise a plan. If you need to, talk to your doctor for some ways to do this. Once you get the resolve and actually do it, not only will you feel better, your bank account will feel better as well.

If your house isn't what you want it to be, if there is clutter, if there are piles of laundry and you can't remember when you last dusted, or if you barely have time or energy to vacuum, then making out a list may be the very thing that could help you.

Sit down with a piece of paper and write out your days of the week. Beside each day come up with one or two rooms or things that you will do with your housework. You know which days you have more time to devote to cleaning so you might load up that day with three or four things. Try to leave one day blank to rest and relax. Each day go to your list and do what is listed on that day.

This will keep you on track, get the things done that need to be done, and you will not feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.

If you have a huge mound of paperwork, set aside one morning, afternoon or evening and just do it. Don't stop until it is done. If you need to declutter, take a few minutes each day and pick an area and take out what you don't need. Put it automatically in bags or boxes to either take to donate or consign or to save for a yard sale. Do this until you have taken care of every room and every area of the house. If you need reminders for this, "Flylady" online sends reminders and gives you tips on cleaning up your house and getting everything in order.

Regardless of the "mess" that you have in your life, with some elbow grease and a plan, you can get it done and cleaned up. You must have the determination to not let it get back into a mess again once it is cleaned up, though. Set your sights on the goal and work hard to get in that goal so that you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

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